The Synod on the Family may have concluded in the Vatican, but a “virtual synod” is now underway in the media. And one high-ranking cardinal is urging people not to believe the spin.
On Sunday morning, prior to the noonday Angelus, Aleteia spoke with Cardinal George Pell, Prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy, about his assessment of the final synodal document and how it should rightly be interpreted. The Australian Cardinal also explained how clergy, ordinary Catholics and all people should navigate their way through the “virtual synod.”
…Following the release of the synod document, headlines in the European press included: “Divorced people to be allowed to receive Holy Communion on ‘case by case’ basis” while others in the media are referring to paragraphs 85 and 86 as “the paragraphs on communion for the divorced and remarried.”Those headlines are inaccurate, unjustified and misleading. People should read the document, not what has been spun to them. I also think it is important for the press to actually read what was said and not just unthinkingly take the line which they’re being fed.
Paragraphs 85 and 86 are not on communion for the divorced and remarried. Communion for the divorced and remarried wasn’t mentioned in the document. It wasn’t mentioned even as a possibility. No endorsement has been given for it, and if priests or people are to use their conscience, they have to have an informed conscience based on the teachings of the Church.
The “discernment” spoken of in paragraph 85 must be effected in light of all of the teachings of John Paul II, especially Familiaris Consortio. In the middle of the paragraph, it says “according to the teaching of the Church.”
To be clear then, paragraphs 85 and 86 do not leave the door open to communion for the divorced and remarried, as some in the Church and the media are suggesting?
The final document certainly doesn’t, but people need to read it. It’s a consensus document and there is no consensus for Communion for the divorced and remarried. It wasn’t mentioned in that paragraph. Undoubtedly some people would like it to pave the way for change, and will try to use it for that.
I too would have appreciated a bit more clarity in these matters. But there is no heresy in the synodal document at all, as one senior official involved with the document has said.